(4)Wisconsin vs. (5) K State
Over the past week, there has been a lot made of Wisconsin’s lack of offensive firepower, particularly in the wake of the team’s 28-point loss to Ohio State and a 36-33 defeat at the hands of Penn State heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Badgers put those rumblings to rest, at least for one day, by putting up 72 points en route to a second round victory over Belmont on Thursday. Senior Jon Leuer, who has scored in double-figures in every game this season, led the team with 22 points and junior Jordan Taylor added 21 while hitting 5-9 (.556) shots from behind the three-point line. For the game, Wisconsin shot .500 from the field, .545 from deep and .800 from the free throw line against the Bruins.
(5) Kansas State Wildcats
In what has been an up-and-down season for Kansas State, Coach Frank Martin’s team turned perhaps its biggest weakness into a strength as a means to defeating Utah State, 73-68. The Wildcats, who have now won seven of their last eight games, came into the 2011 NCAA Tournament as one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country (64.7 percent; 292nd nationally), but knocked down 24 of 28 attempts from the stripe to escape the 12th-seeded Aggies. Senior guard Jacob Pullen, who is averaging 24.1 points in his last eight games, scored 22 points and dished out five assists while forward Curtis Kelly chipped in 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, one steal and one blocked shot.
HOOPSWORLD’s Pick: Kansas State. The length and activity level of the Kansas State front line, as well as the Wildcats’ offensive firepower, will carry KSU past Wisconsin and into the Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive season.